On migrant workers


When Phadendra Kumar Shrestha heard about the cupboardful of abandoned passports, he knew he was in trouble. The 27-year-old migrant worker from Sindhuli district, Nepal, had travelled to Malaysia on the promise of a salary more than double what he could ever hope to earn at home, but the contents of the cupboard made him afraid.

Shortly after his arrival in Kuala Lumpur in October, his employer confiscated his passport and those of the 36 young men who had travelled with him. Without his documents, the only way Shrestha could leave his employer was to run away. And so the pile of abandoned passports indicated that several workers had fled, leaving their documents behind.

Via The Guardian

I’ve always taken my hat off to those who actually take the step of leaving their home to venture into another country, whether it’s to escape political prosecution, or to find their fortune.

Leaving home is never easy. It takes guts, sacrifice, and determination. Often you’re leaving behind family, everything you’ve worked for until that point, and you might never come back. It’s even scarier for migrant workers as they’re often going to work at construction sites or similar jobs, and not corporate jobs where they might be treated better or afforded better protection.

It’s sad to see many of these workers be abused along the way, often with no way out. It also reminds me of an article I read not too long ago titled “Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?” The Wall Street Journal also had a similar article on the topic.

Not all migrant workers (or expats?) are good, but that applies to any group in society. There are bad people from every country, race, gender etc. There are some happy stories of course, and the one about some workers in Singapore saving a baby was widely circulated recently.

In the end, one can hope that society will eventually progress to the point where we’re evaluated and treated based on our abilities and achievements, rather than the country that we’re born in.


2 responses to “On migrant workers”

  1. Jenxi Avatar

    Comments are back? Working overseas is like living in someone else’s home. And you actually live in someone else’s home.

    1. matt Avatar

      I’m pretty sure I turned it off, but I guess it’s back! This site has a mind of its own. Yeah @ working overseas.

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